Madison Anderson Berríos: From Miss Grand International to Miss Universe

24 Apr 2020 | Angelique Reyes

Madison Sara Anderson Berríos, a Puerto Rican-American model, was crowned Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2019 and represented Puerto Rico at Miss Universe 2019 on 8th December 2019 at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. She finished as the first runner-up at the end of the event finale.

Madison was born in Phoenix, Arizona to an American father, Adam Anderson, and a Puerto Rican mother, Belinda Berríos. After graduating from high school, Anderson began studying fashion design and textiles at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City; she has since begun studying marketing and public relations.



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Madison joined her the world of pageant at the age of 18 when she participated the Miss Florida Teen USA in 2014 and was adjudged as the fourth runner-up at then end of the event finale. She won the right to present Puerto Rico at Top Model of the World 2015 where she placed as fourth runner-up. The diva took some time off and came back in full force to win Miss Grand Puerto Rico in 2016 and represented the country at Miss Grand International 2016 and was adjudged as the third runner-up. After taking some time off work, Madison participated in Miss Florida USA 2019 and was placed as the first runner-up. Anderson later entered Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2019 and represented Toa Baja. She was crowned as the new queen succeeding Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2018 Kiara Ortega. When she was adjudged as the first runner-up at Miss Universe 2019, she became Puerto Rico’s highest non-winning placement since Cynthia Olavarría who also finished as 1st Runner-Up at Miss Universe 2005.

She explains that it was her lifelong dream to represent her country at Miss Universe pageant as her mother was a Puerto Rican beauty queen herself. Having been raised in the U.S. by a Puerto Rican mother, Madison grew up with a strong foothold within both the American and Puerto Rican cultures. Madison was also able to experience and grow up around some of the liveliness of her Latino background. Madison stated, “I found my identity here, in my island of Puerto Rico and that’s why I’m so passionate about breaking the language barrier that has always existed; that, quote on quote, ‘who’s more Puerto Rican’, because to me, being Puerto Rican is the love that you have for the island.”



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Madison is an advocate for victims of domestic abuse. She has a strong passion for social work and has championed the cause of women in need of a second chance. At the pageant, she shared how she spent some time in Saint Kitt and Nevis working alongside women to help equip them with the necessary tools to succeed. She hopes to provide the same support in Puerto Rico, working with organizations such as Hogar Ruth Puerto Rico.“People think that this only affects the victim but that is not true. Who is really getting hurt is a community of people? This affects family members, this affects friends, this affects children, so I spoke with many different people to better understand how to help these individuals,” said Anderson.

Madison is an ambassador against Domestic Violence, founding Metamorphosis, a program in which she “helps recovered victims to become their better-self so they can achieve a most successful society reintegration. ”Metamorphosis also aims to help free women from the insecurities they carry as being victims of abuse, and help them "take flight to live without fears. "She also spends time visiting cancer patients in Puerto Rico's San Jorge Children's and Women's Hospital. In one of her social media posts, she described, “Women are so thoughtful, sensitive, and powerful that we have in our hands the ability to make impact and create change in the world. But we must start with us. Finding that inner strength and, second helping other women. Together we are more powerful.”



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Anderson also commits to spreading awareness on other social causes like helping people with disabilities, hoping to get involved with SER, an organization that provides services to individuals with learning disabilities and autism. Another cause is the stray animal epidemic that permeates the island.Among her favorite Puerto Rican qualities, resilience is the characteristic she cherishes the most.

Madison’s reign as Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2019 was full of controversies after multiple people stressed that she did not represent them for not speaking Spanish well and not having been born on the Island. However, with her charisma, the queen born in Arizona, but raised in Orlando, Florida, she has won the affection of people inside and outside of Puerto Rico. On asking about how does she feel about the negative comments on her winning, she stated, “I am representing the new generation of Puerto Ricans who do not need to live in Puerto Rico or speak Spanish. If you were born in the United States, you are not less Puerto Rican. These are feelings that you carry anywhere. That’s the new generation of Puerto Ricans”.



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Madison also aspires to enter politics because according to her, it’s very important that one should understand and listen to respond. She really wants to hear the voices and concerns of the people in the world. But instead of reaching biased groups, she wants to make sure everyone has their own opinion and that everyone gets their spot. She mentioned in one of her interviews that she admires Governor Wanda Vázquez and stated that she can be a great inspiration for young girls to realize that they too can have a position where they have a voice. She believes that it is an amazing thing for young girls to see nowadaysthat we have the same opportunity as anyone else to be empowered and to be a leader.

Madison may have lost the crown to Zozibini Tunzi from South Africa but she surly won many hearts while representing Puerto Rico at Miss Universe 2019. She has been an inspiration to the woman who are silently suffering under the domestic violence and aspires to reach out to them in order to empower them. Madison was one of the favorites during the competition and was highly appreciated by the audience and judges at the competition. She performed exceedingly well at the every pre-pageant activity but unfortunately couldn’t win the crown but accepted the runner-up award gracefully.